I first read this book when I was in sixth grade, and wasn't impressed. When I was 30 I decided to read it again, thinking my opinion at so young an age might have been uninformed. So I read it again in a single sitting and I have to say my opinion hadn't changed much. I think I may have had bad translations both times, though. I remember that they simplified the names, something that indicates to me that the translator made really poor choices in translation. I embarked on it a third time not long ago, and this time the wonderful writing came through. The characters were so real and seemed to jump off the page, as they did for me in Anna Karenina. So my recommendation is be sure to get a good translation. I still think Anna is the superior book, though.